Boracay hit heavily by virus scare
ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — Tourist arrivals on Boracay Island, the country’s prime tourist destination, have plunged amid travel restrictions and concerns over the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
From 167,070 in January, the number of tourists dropped to 103,834, or 37.85 percent lower in February. Last month’s figure is also lower than last year (172,695) and in 2018 (189,100).
The biggest drop was among foreign tourists from 98,301 in January to 40,346 last month.
Direct flights from China, Hong Kong and Macau and some areas in South Korea were suspended starting late January due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
As of March 4, 24 establishments including 23 in Boracay and one in the capital town of Kalibo in Aklan have stopped operating.
A total of 322 workers (28 in Kalibo and 294 in Boracay) lost their jobs, according to Carmela Abellar, director of the Department of Labor and Employment in Aklan.
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